July 30, 2017, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (7th Sunday after Pentecost) Proper 12
Address given at Christ our Hope Sydney by Br. Andrew Francis Clare
Homily Preached on 30 July 2017
Good morning brothers and sisters, May the Lord grant us understanding
In my reading, I came across very complex explanations for these last three Parables of Jesus, ones which turned these Similes into Metaphors, they seem very complex and could not possibly be that which the disciples understood Therefore in my simple manner I am ignoring them in my attempt to deal with the Similes only as they present themselves.
And God said to Solomon
“Indeed, I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.” (I kings 3;12b)
And st Francis admonished “Although there may be someone who has received from the Lord, a special knowledge, of sovereign wisdom……. (you cannot glorify in it.) However, what we may glory in, is in our infirmities, and in bearing daily the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Admonition 5 last paragraph, my translation public domain)
Our Lord, in his similes regarding the kingdom of Heaven demands that we use whatever Wisdom that we have been graced through the Holy Spirit to discern where and what the kingdom is and the meaning of our discoveries.
1.The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field
It is not a treasure hidden in a field but is like one.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
Its joyful discoverer hides it and sells all that he has to possess the field. Does this man demonstrate Wisdom? In burying the treasure does he know he is participating in the kingdom of Heaven? Does he know that the Treasure is Christ or does he surmise, without knowledge, that the treasure is costly and hides it from everyone else. We know these two are not wise because God and Francis have told us so.
- Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;
It is not a fine pearl but like one.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl of great price.
This merchant knows what he is looking for, – a fine pearl – and when he discovers it he sells all that he has to buy it. But does he know what he has bought, what does he liken it to? If these two were aware of what they had found and inherited they would have become as active participants in the kingdom of Heaven, disciples of Christ.
The Kingdom of Heaven is costly and valuable and is worth everything we own.
Remember what Jesus said about the kingdom –
The Coming of the Kingdom of God. 20 [f]… “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed,’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:20,21b NASB)
The Kingdom cannot be seen.
The Kingdom of heaven certainly is like treasure and pearls, among us but not noticeable nor obvious.
We can dwell within it and continue to search for something we may beleive is ‘like it’
Jesus tells us that discipleship is costly
24Then Jesus said to His disciples…. 26“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.” (Matthew 16:24,26,27NASB)
Now here enters the fishing expedition:
This simile is very like the Parable/metaphor concerning the weeds in Matthew 13:36-43, where the weeds and the wheat must grow together until recognized at harvest when they are separated and the weeds consigned to the fire.
47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and caught fish of every kind;
The Kingdom of heaven is not a net but is like a net that was thrown into the sea that caught fish of every kind, both clean and unclean.
Fishermen used a dragnet to capture sea creatures from the bottom of the Lakes or Oceans and would catch all manner of creatures, both clean and unclean. Once full the net was dragged to shore and the clean or righteous sorted from the unclean or evil. Which is exactly what will happen at the end of time when the angels will separate the righteous from the evil and throw the evil into a fiery furnace,” where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (The same type of fiery furnace into which the weeds were thrown.)
Finally there are the ”Treasures New and Old”
The Disciples appear to have understood so Jesus introduces something for them in their future occupation as Missionaries and teachers. It is about the use of all kinds of literature, Sacred and Secular to make the kingdom apparent. Teachers and Theologians need not be afraid to use past knowledge and exegeses to accompany present writing nor to introduce contemporary secular literature such as the media to illustrate and open up the sacred. Things both old and new.
This has come full circle to the gift of Discernment and Wisdom freely given by the Holy Spirit, which accompanied by the carrying of our own crosses, prayer and fasting assists the Teacher to explain that the Kingdom of heaven is “Like” And the similes are determined by contemporary times.
Scripture is not simple, and is made more difficult because there are approximately 21 centuries between ourselves and the most recent, written acknowledged scriptures, written in a part of the world of unfamiliar practices. We may deal with children and adults never having seen the ocean or a cultivated field or pearls, may find ourselves having to rewrite the passage to give it sense. For this we need knowledge, discernment and wisdom/education. Which are the rarest birds.
Given all of this, when we love God things go well for us and there is never an ill wind that doesn’t blow anything an y good. God has a purpose for those he calls and it can be derived from any of the gifts of the holy Spirit. The language Paul uses concerning Predestination and foreknowing can be disturbing when it leads us to believe that our salvation and damnation are a fore gone conclusion about which we can do nothing. It actually is not so but is the language of ancient Rome showing Christians that God is orderly, he is already aware of their life’s journey and that these adjectives referring to Christians and their progress along a certain journey as they follow on in an orderly manner according to the hand of God.
Source: Image taken from The Coming Kingdom (Part 7) . 2017. The Coming Kingdom (Part 7) . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bibleprophecyblog.com/2012/07/coming-kingdom-part-7.html. [Accessed 30 July 2017].